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Friday, December 3, 2021

Democrats fail to change maps; Senate readies for final vote

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Senate Republicans voted down a number of amendments brought by Democrats on Sept. 30 that would have changed the redistricting process or altered specific parts of proposed district maps.

The Senate is expected to pass redistricting legislation Oct. 1, which will determine which congressional and legislative districts Hoosiers live in for the next 10 years. Gov. Eric Holcomb will need to sign the bill into law.

Democrats introduced 10 amendments, all of which failed along party lines.

The east side of the Indiana Statehouse. (Photo/Tyler Fenwick)

Some amendments addressed specific urban areas around the state: Fort Wayne, Evansville, Indianapolis and Tippecanoe County, home to Lafayette and West Lafayette. Democrats and people who spoke at committee hearings said Republicans’ maps dilute the voice of minority voters in those areas by splitting them into multiple districts.

Fort Wayne would include four Senate districts rather than its current three; West Lafayette and Lafayette would be split into two districts; Evansville would be split; and the mostly rural District 28 would continue to include a sliver of Warren Township in Indianapolis.

Related: Here’s what Indiana’s proposed legislative and congressional maps look like

Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, said people in those cities would be better represented by more legislators. Democrats said urban people, especially minorities, would unfairly be lumped in with rural people and wouldn’t get as much of a voice.

“How long is it gonna take to recognize that power is not absolute?” said Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis. “One day you might lose it.”

Republicans also voted against amendments that would have replaced the congressional and Senate maps with ones drawn by citizens, created an independent redistricting commission and outlined more standards for how to draw maps.

The Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 9 a.m. Oct. 1 for a final vote.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853 or tylerf@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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